Don’t gamble with your life

THE grieving father of a teenager who died after taking ‘legal highs’ has today pleaded with others not to play Russian roulette with their lives by trying the killer drugs.

Peter Wing in front of photos of his sons, including former Les Quennevais pupil Matthew, who died last year after taking the ‘legal high’ Benzo Fury
Peter Wing in front of photos of his sons, including former Les Quennevais pupil Matthew, who died last year after taking the ‘legal high’ Benzo Fury

THE grieving father of a teenager who died after taking ‘legal highs’ has today pleaded with others not to play Russian roulette with their lives by trying the killer drugs.

Matthew Wing died on 11 March last year just hours after taking 15 tablets of Benzofuran – an ecstasy-style drug known on the streets as Benzo Fury.

Today, speaking publicly about the death for the first time, his devastated father Peter has urged others to say no to the drugs which are now flooding the Island’s pubs and clubs.

His warning comes as the JEP – as part of a special investigation into drugs in Jersey – yesterday revealed how a growing number of Islanders are risking death or prosecution by ordering so-called legal highs online.

• See Tuesday's JEP for the full interview

Comments for: "Don’t gamble with your life"

Hx

Please take notice of this man he knows what pain it brings Life is to short to take such hi risk with these legal highs My heart goes out to this Father as a parent myself i can not think of anything worse than losing a child

CC

I would submit it wasn't trying them that was the issue, rather trying 15 of them at once.

Tobias

My sincere condolences to the family, a most tragic loss of a young life.

That said, I would point out that taking FIFTEEN doses of paracetamol, vitamin C or indeed almost anything would also have potentially lethal effects. Unfortunate though this story is, it's NOT a reason to glibly ban the product, as it was the user who was at fault here.

People are always going to get high, this is a fact of life, it's in our very nature. Do we accept that fact and allow people to do so by using these legal alternatives, thus avoiding a criminal record, and indeed taxing the product so the government can create revenue? Or, do we continue with the lost cause of prohibition, whereby people will give their money to the local drug-dealer, in order to buy a product which will have been mixed with vinyl, engine oil, rubber, and who knows what else.

It seems the US and Europe are finally waking up to the reality of drug use and slowly moving towards decriminalisation. Sadly, though, Jersey is far too short-sighted to go this route.

Once again, my sympathies go out to the family of this young man; whilst this sad story will not deter others from using the same product, I hope that it will at least stop anyone else from taking such a huge dose.

Jerry Gosselin

"It seems the US and Europe are finally waking up to the reality of drug use and slowly moving towards decriminalisation." - What insensitive rubbish you speak. In the US, they have exactly the same problem with legal highs as in Jersey. Here's a current CNN report about a 16-year old American girl who suffered multiple strokes after taking 'Spice'/'K2'. In the US, Synthetic Marijuana has been linked to 11,406 drug-related emergency department visits in 2010 alone. Most of these vists related to children aged 12 to 17.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/04/health/synthetic-marijuana-irpt/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

J-Cat

18 US States have legalised medical marijuana, 10 more with legislation on the books. I'd call that gradual decriminalization.

I notice you've picked on Spice, something that wouldn't exist if marijuana (no attributable deaths ever) was available.

Tobias

"What insensitive rubbish you speak". Having a bad day, Mr Gosselin? If you re-read my post a bit more carefully you might notice that the paragraph from which you quoted was not referring to the so-called legal highs, it was referring to the decriminalisation of currently-illegal substances, in particular cannabis. As such, I'm sure you'll forgive me for not bothering to click into your irrelevant hotlink - legal cannabis imitators are more harmful than the natural product so I'm not surprised if there have been problems associated with it. Give people access to the real thing and they won't bother with the artificial compounds.

Most sensible people will admit that the war on drugs was lost long ago, with more users than ever before and the drugs more widely available, hence the current shift in policy towards harm reduction rather than outright prohibition.

Major Problem

Why is that insensitive rubbish Jerry Gosselin? You're doing the same as most prohibitionists and labelling all drugs under one banner. The truth is some are relatively safe (Cannabis & MDMA) and some very bad indeed (Methamphetamine).

Many countries have moved away from the utter failure of the "War on Drugs" towards decriminalisation and education with a great deal of success.

Have you ever thought that maybe if Cannabis wasn't illegal, maybe people might not be using sythetic cannabinoids?

Stay safe - dose sensibly.

> Matthew Wing died just hours after taking 15 tablets of Benzofuran

15 tablets. FIFTEEN tablets. This is a shining example of why we need better drug education, not scare stories from the media.

If you had 15x3 shots of vodka - you'd die. If you ate 15 paracetamol pills, you'd die.

It's clearly not common sense, but claiming that taking 15 times the normal dose is "russian roulette" is a joke.

Major Problem

Agreed with the above comments, and i really feel for the lad's family, but 15 tablets was a ridiculous dose!

When are we going to move away from criminalisation to education? Maybe be with proper education on the dangers mixing drugs with alcohol (which seems not to be an issue in the eyes of the authorities and media, even though reports clearly state he had been out drinking with friends beforehand) and not overdoing it Matthew Wing would still be alive?

Ashley

15!? I just did a google search for dosage and people on forums are saying 2 for a night out. Taking 15 must be like drinking 2+ bottles of vodka.

Clearly education for the young is the answer here. Some kids aren't scared - they think they're invincible.

Give them the honest, truthful, information about these products and they'll have the power to make an informed decision of their own. Right now all they hear is how 'bad' it is from the the authorities - while all along the only truth they know and trust is that all their friends do it and they're all ok.

INTERESTED BYSTANDER

I would just like to say that the majority of the above writers (at the time of writing this) are all concerned with the fact that fifteen tablets were taken by this lad. That is not the point. Drugs are dangerous to life, limb and brain, and should not be taken under any circumstances. Death is not an exciting high, it is the end of what could otherwise have been a wonderful life, with all the wonder and great things that nature and friends can offer. Even without the unfortunate premature ending of life, it is utterly stupid to want to spend any minute of this precious gift in a haze of chemical illusion. PLEASE DO NOT TRY OUT DRUGS !

Loco

Read the above again, but replace 'drug' with 'alcohol'. Then consider 'Gazza' or George Best and how what they did/are doing to themselves is completely legal, whereas smoking a joint (cannabis has no known lethal dose) could result in a criminal record/loss of job/inability to get insured, etc. etc.

If you're saying 'drugs' are bad, you need to apply the same rules to alcohol, cigarettes and even food (obesity epidemic)... and we all know how well the alcohol prohibition went in the USA.

People make bad decisions - but the sensible masses shouldn't be be punished because of the actions of a foolish few.

Christopher

The UK Government's own drug advisory panel the ACMD concluded a few years ago that Alcohol was the third most damaging drug behind Heroin and Crack Cocaine, so i take it INTERESTED BYSTANDER that you will be giving everyone you know who enjoys the odd glass of wine the same advice?

You completely miss the point, which is that young people do take drugs, the "just say no" approach does not work, and education is much more successful just the same as tobacco use has been reduced by honest education as to the dangers!

Nozick-ing idea.

By your own submission do you believe that Alcohol is dangerous to life, limb and brain and should not be taken under any circumstances also?

Do you also apply the maxim 'it is utterly stupid to want to spend any minute of this precious gift in a haze of chemical illusion' to C2H5OH?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

Breaking Bad

Amen ! Says the Priest who always finishes is speech with a glass of red wine !

Funny how all the scientific reports shows alcohol being more dangerous than cannabis or MDMA.

We all been brain washed for centuries.

Hemp could be a solution to deforestation. A field of hemp ( can make paper, oil, textile, soap, and many more things). Hemp do not need pesticide and grows back every year. A tree will take decades to achieve full maturity.

Because we are leaving in world dictated by clueless bigots, our planet is now on the edge of no return.

They been chewing coca leaves for centuries in South america, it helps with altitude sickness. Native american took awaska, to get closer to the gods, and Bob Marley s been preaching peace, the same way as all the rastafari on the planet, (partly due to their cannabis consumption).

Now you go out at the week end, and you will see how your so beloved alcohol, praised by the Lord is turning the streets into a war scene.

Do your research instead of presuming things. I won't die in-cult like some. I tried, made my mind on what s good and bad.

I never took more than 1.5 pile a night in my teens, I never touch Heroin, crack, speed, or any of the badly addictive stuff.

I am my own judge, I am responsible, I never been a junkie, I never sold any, I never wished to make money out of it, I just wanted to have a good time without having to down a few litters of booze, which normally make you feel sick , tend to make some feel aggressive, arrogant , and make you talk a lot of rubbish. One of the main reason of violence at home.

Holland is known for his cannabis. In 4 decades I NEVER , I say NEVER, met a Dutch guy who was smoking pot. Users are coming from all the places where it is illegal.

Work that one out !!!

C@rLiNHo5

If Cannabis was legal that boy wouldn’t have died. Blame the government and our gutless politicians.

rogerwing

SORRY to disagree, but the issue here is that anyone supplying any form of illegal drugs or substance that may or may not be legal that causes harm or death would be charged with manslaughter here in the UK. A defence of 'if cannabis was legal this would not have happened is utter nonsense'. It has been scientifically proven that sustained cannabis use has the effect of destroying brain cells, paraniod behaviour, lethagy and results in the user becoming so addicted he/she cannot sleep at night without having 'a spliff' first. Cannabis and most all other drug use leads to criminal behaviour in the quest for money to buy the drugs. Stealing from the family or shoplifting is the favoured behaviour of drug users in the UK leading onto prostitution or burlary when things get even more desperate.

rogerwing

Its so very easy to make comments after the event but lets not forget that this tragic loss to Matt's family needs more answers than what he took and the amount involved. I want to know who supplied the drugs, who encouraged him to take so many, and who was involved in delaying getting him medical attention when Matt must have been in a pretty bad way. Why did Matt not get the help he so desperately needed earlier ? What was the cause of the delay in contacting the emergency services ? The effect of this delay resulted in Matt losing his precious life and the ongoing devestation to his family and friends. Matt's father is my youngest brother and the loss of Matt has all but destroyed my brothers life, Matt's mother, brother , sister and relatives all suffer the loss of Matt, in this case time will not heal the hurt felt by us all. And lets not forget Matt's young son who will grow up without his Dad, although he has the devotion of his mother and close family,later in life he will know and try to understand why he lost the love and care of his Dad in these circumstances. Anyone who causes death by supplying any illegal or dangerous substances should be charged with manslaughter. Any Police investigation into this manner of death should be treated initially as a murder enquiry.

Miss Piggy

I very sorry for you and your family's loss rogerwing, but Matt did take a huge amount of the substance.

Seemingly this is the only death worldwide caused by Benzo Fury even though it has been very popular for the last 2 or 3 years, and millions of tablets must have been taken by people in that time.

The only other death associated with the substance happened in Scotland and has just been confirmed to have actually been caused by Ecstasy.

If we did charge anyone supplying any dangerous substance with manslaughter you would have to include Alcohol, Tobacco and Prescription Drugs. These cause many many more deaths than all Illegal Drugs and Legal Highs combined.

I'm speaking myself as someone who has lost friends and family to Alcohol and Tobacco, not just through long term abuse, one of my family died at a young age very suddenly from Alcohol and a very close friend who was killed as a teenager by a drink driver.

rogerwing

Again so sorry to disagree but there have been several deaths in the UK attributed to this substance which is why it has now been banned over here, Thank you for your kindness, and yes we all hope that other youngsters looking for a thrill will find other means of doing it. One of the contributory factors of drug and alcohol use is the feeling of hopelessness and boredom particularily where there are no decent jobs and prospects of a decent career in the future, its not just education that is needed its support from the government to provide a future for all those that are unemployed and future school leavers who will also face long term unemployment.